Pete Holmes Remembers He's Still Charged With Keeping Law and Order

Pete Holmes might soon learn that public safety and leaving the bars alone don't always go hand in hand.
City politics this week has been obsessed with new Mayor Mike McGinn. And for good reason; McGinn opened his administration by hacking away at salaries and jobs, hoping to stave off another round of painful cuts at the end of this year.

But lest we forget, three other City Hall newcomers were sworn in this week, including Nightlife Messiah Pete Holmes. And after months of campaigning as the anti-Carr, promising to end pot prosecution, stop the crackdown on bars and night clubs, and no new jails, Holmes' seems to have remembered that part of his job is, in fact, protecting the public.

After yet another cop memorial service, it's not a good time for an elected official to appear soft on crime. And Holmes is sensitive to that. "As we mourn the murders of law enforcement officers in our region, I understand fully well that ours is not a safe world," Homes said in his inaugural address.

But it's one thing to give lip service to both public safety and letting people make bad choices in bars without interference by law enforcement, and another to actually allow places that allegedly contribute to the crime problem stay in business. As Vernal Coleman has reported, Holmes might get his first test of safety v. campaign promises to back off the bars sooner than he might like.

Casey McNerthney at noted yesterday that Angie's Cocktails' got a short extension on its liquor license, but that will be up at the end of next month. The Columbia City bar is accused of violating its Good Neighbor Agreement by racking up police reports for everything from serving minors to facilitating drug sales, including one where a hooker picked up coke for her john.

Holmes has yet to say whether he will enforce the Agreement, under which the city can ask the state to pull the establishment's liquor license. But this won't be the only bar that causes trouble while he's in office.

If Holmes wants to keep his job four years from now, he'll have to walk a very fine line between keeping his campaign promises to the nightlife crowd and making people feel safe.

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